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Community members start video series to promote local businesses and organizations that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kyle Bunch, a member of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce, and Wilsonville City Councilor Ben West, record Lyn Whelchel, director of Heart of the City as part of their series of support of small businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.

As a business owner and Wilsonville city councilor respectively, Kyle Bunch and Ben West understand that businesses and organizations in town are hurting.

So the duo wanted to bring positivity to these groups while also providing them with valuable exposure.

Bunch and West recently started Wilsonville Wednesdays, where they post a video on YouTube and Facebook each week highlighting businesses, nonprofits and other groups in town. So far, Bunch and West have posted videos about Al's Home & Garden and Innovative Dance, and they plan to highlight Wilsonville Community Sharing, Heart of the City, Slick's Big Time BBQ and other groups in town. Their first couple of videos have attracted a few thousand views on Facebook.

"Even in a time of crisis (when) we feel isolated, there's still ways for us to connect and be a strong community and be there for each other," West said. "It's neat to be able to engage in people's lives. Small business owners are our neighbors. To be able to engage with them and help them has been a real honor."

In the videos, representatives talk about the services they're offering, why customers should support their efforts and how they're weathering the pandemic. They're also supposed to be fun. During one video, Bunch tap danced along with Innovative Dance Owner Molly Kaleikilo.

"We wanted to be a little lighthearted and fun with it," West said.

In the video for Al's, they highlighted the store's Mother's Day gift baskets, prized tomato plant and spring specials.

The duo try to maintain social distancing during their videos, wear masks if the organizations request them and bought audio equipment to maintain sound quality even when they're talking from afar.

"I'm an extremely social being. It's fun, (we're) safe and we're following guidelines, which is to have some interaction, get information out there, but also have fun and enjoy each other," Bunch said.

Bunch doesn't know how long they will continue Wilsonville Wednesdays but is excited about the response and the number of promotional requests.

"We have a lot of people who are interested and have a lot of ideas moving forward about things we can highlight," he said.

For more information, visit the YouTube page at bit.ly/3fqP36F.


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